One of our favorite Dominican phrases says “to contemplate and to share with others the fruits of contemplation.” To contemplate is to listen at a very deep part of yourself, so that you experience the presence of God in a profound way. Dominicans share with others what comes to our hearts and minds when we listen at that deep, intimate level.
Prayer, or our contemplation of God and God’s goodness, draws us more deeply into the heart of God and alerts us to the needs of people around us, the needs of the world, and the cry of the poor. In prayer, we experience the mystery of God, the call to conversion of heart, and in prayer, we seek God’s guidance for our lives.
St. Dominic recognized that a strong spiritual life and a sound relationship with God are necessary to live an active life rooted in the Gospel. Whether we are praying together the Liturgy of the Hours, in quiet meditation, enjoying a solitary moment alone, or participating in the Eucharist together, our prayer inspires and sustains us for the journey.
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St. Dominic called the members of his community to go out into the world and spread the Gospel. Community life for the Dominican is a place where companionship, support and prayer, serve to refresh and ground us for service. Shared prayer and a shared mission help to form the bonds of community for us.
We share a common call to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Peter encouraged us to “place our gifts at the service of one another” (1 Peter 4:10) so our call is expressed in many different ways and in many different ministries depending on each Sister’s individual gifts. The ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace is to bring God’s peace to the world in need. In all of our ministries, we frequently describe our call this way: to be peace, build peace and preach peace.
Dominicans share the meaning of Jesus’s life with others. This is what it means to preach and preaching is at the heart of our call – it is our ministry. Preaching can happen anywhere and is not something that is only done by a priest in the pulpit. We bring the Word of Jesus Christ to whatever situation we encounter. We are concerned with communicating the message of the Gospel in whatever forum is available to us, be it a classroom, a community center, counseling room or playground and sometimes in a pulpit.
Study, both formal and informal, gives substance to our efforts to build peace and create a more peaceful world. Through study we draw wisdom from Sacred Scripture, the tradition of the Church and our Dominican Family, the mysteries of creation, the arts and sciences, and through our own experiences. We engage in critical reflection, communal study, and dialogue on issues affecting our community, Church, and world.
The search for truth through study and contemplation is essential to our mission as members of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). In fact, one of the mottos of the Dominican Order is Veritas, or Truth. Our passion for the truth leads us directly to Christ, as put forth in the Gospel of John, “I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
In the complexity of the world we live in, many people find it difficult to know what is really true and good. Dominicans have always had a particular interest in and commitment to pursuing the Truth. Choosing truth as a goal immediately places us, like St. Dominic, in dialogue with all of our sisters and brothers seeking what is good and right in the world.
St. Catherine of Siena, one of the patrons of our Congregation, often referred to Jesus as Gentle First Truth. She prayed often that people would come to know the truth, be enlightened by that truth, hate all things contrary to the truth, love all that is within truth and whatever truth loves.
St. Dominic’s followers walked from town to town, village to village engaging people in conversation about the Gospel.
Today, people in the United States move easily and travel freely for pleasure or business. Around the globe, people migrate because of economic necessity or political upheaval. Dominican Sisters move with the needs of the people – taking us far and wide. We believe that a willingness to change location for the sake of our mission is an essential element of Dominican Life, and more importantly, a willingness to change our minds and hearts is at the center of who we are. Itinerancy simply means that we are ready to go where we are needed, whether it be to a new mission or to a new state of mind. Sometimes the call to mission requires a relocation of body and sometimes a relocation of the heart.